5 rituals to overcome anxiety

5 rituals to overcome anxiety

Rituals to overcome anxiety can act as authentic daily pain relievers. They are behavioral and cognitive shields to control uncertainty through very simple actions. They bring order and structure. In addition, they provide mental calm, security and cushion the feeling of panic and indefinable pressure that seizes us so often.

Some may be wary of rituals. Indeed, the word "ritual" has traditionally a magic connotation. It is associated with a series of incantations or spells intended to attract luck, love or health. However, we often forget its true meaning.A ritual is an act that is repeated over and over for a symbolic purpose. A ritual also has a rigid and well defined structure.

Rituals to overcome anxiety allow us to include in our daily lives a sequence of repetitive movements that "cheat" the brain into believing that it experiences a state of predictability and pleasant stability.
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The simple fact of including in our routine something reiterative that confers order and feeling of control is already beneficial to our brain. We must not forget that anxiety feeds on uncertainty. It comes out of nothing, is unpredictable and takes away control of ourselves. Therefore, this series of cognitive and behavioral ritualsoffers us a very interesting compensatory mechanism that deserves to be taken into account.

Let's deepen the subject a little more.

Are rituals to overcome anxiety really useful?

In the early 1920s,the famous anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski studied the population of the Trobriand Islands in the Pacific. Something caught his attention almost from the beginning. When a man was fishing in the river, he did not look like he was fishing in the sea. In fact, before embarking for the ocean, they performed a series of very complex rituals. Something they did not realize when they went fishing in the rivers.

The sea was dangerous, unpredictable and relentless most of the time. The rituals soothed fear. They also gave them a sense of security, a symbolic value and the promise that "everything would be fine". So, in an interesting study published in the journal "Current Biology" ofshowed the important psychological imprint that this series of acts could have to manage the daily fear, anxiety and above all, the act of facing what we can not control.

Rituals to overcome anxiety are useful and have always existed in the history of mankind. There is nevertheless a fact that we can not neglect. These ritualized movements to provide a sense of order and security to the brain are not in themselves the solution to our problems. They provide a sense of control, restore internal balance and regulate emotions. They are however not a universal cure for anxiety disorders that certainly require a more clinical approach.

Here are some examples.

Deep breathing before starting any activity

Deep breathing is one of the most common anti-anxiety rituals. We need to establish "key" moments where we devote at least three minutes this practice to be effective.

The ideal is to perform deep breathing as soon as we get up, when we leave the house, when we start working, before each meal and before going to bed.We will also do it in activities that tend to generate stress and anxiety.

Ritual of the movement

The ritual of movement serves to "stir and take off" the worries of the spirit. To activate the body and remove resistance to voltage nodes. Therefore, there's nothing like choosing the physical activities that are best for you and practicing them on a daily basis. We can run, do high intensity exercises (HIIT) for 5 minutes during those specific times when we need it most, or even practice yoga.

Personal Care Ritual

Another excellent ritual for overcoming anxiety is that of personal care.Once a day and for one or two hours, we will devote quality time to ourselves and exclusively. We can prepare a meal we like, stay silent and do nothing, read, walk … This is a timesolitude, a time to heal.

Paint stones with colors to face fears and concerns

We have all heard of the cathartic power inherent in painting mandalas or other motifs.Choose some colors and indulge in this creative and relaxing exercise. We will go this time a little further. Wewe will choose a series of stones which, because of their characteristics, allow us to paint and draw on them.

Each stone will symbolize a concern, a fear.To overcome this anxiety, we will realize a drawing, something creative by which to put down this negative veil by painting it with more friendly colors. It is therefore a simple and enjoyable exercise.

Positive anchoring ritual

The ritual of positive anchoring can be very useful to us. It consists of two very specific phases.We will first have to organize an experience that, by its characteristics, is positive and comforting. For example, a walk to the beach, a meeting with friends, a weekend getaway …

We must be fully aware of the positive emotions felt when we are in the middle of this experience. The goal is to keep that feeling in our brain, as if it were a perfume.We will then choose an object present in this context. It may be sand or a shell if we are on the beach, a leaf if we are in the mountains, etc.

This chosen object will be "impregnated" with these emotions and this moment of balance and happiness. It will be our little daily talisman, this little treasure to wear in our pocket in the face of a stressful situation: an examination, an interview, a doctor's appointment …

To conclude, the most important rituals for overcoming anxiety are those that make sense to us.We need to create them based on our beliefs and personal characteristics. Their goal will always be the same: to give us faith, to calm us and to make us confident in a world of constant uncertainty.


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